Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snails in Hawthorn Dene

I went walking though Hawthorn Dene today and found this group of snails sheltering in a tree trunk. The snowdrops are still very attractive.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Snowdrops in Hawthorn Dene - At last

The snowdrops have finally come into proper flower in Hawthorn Dene, about three weeks later than last year.
There are catkins on the trees and the horse chestnut buds are swelling.
We also saw dead man's fingers fungus on a fallen log.

Northumberland Break

We had a couple of days in Northumberland from 19th - 21st Feb. We saw Kielder Water flat calm in the early morning and also spectacular clouds at Druridge Bay. On the way home we stopped at Hauxley Nature Reserve and watched curlew and other waders.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Barn Owl at Low Barns

I spent a couple of hours in the Northumbrian Water hide at Low Barns reserve, Witton-le-Wear yesterday afternoon.
Just as the light was going I had some great views of a Barn Owl quartering the reed beds and islands. Too dull a light for a photograph but I did get a snippet of video.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sea birds and waves

I had a trip to St Mary's Island just north of Tynemouth last Tuesday (10th Feb).
The tide was in and the seabirds were feeding on the debris in the incoming waves. There were Black Headed and Herring Gulls on the water and in the air and Oyster Catchers, Turnstone and Redshank along the beach margins.

The waves were coming in from both sides of the causeway to the island and breaking against one another.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Fox in the dene

We walked a circular route through Hawthorn Dene yesterday afternoon. The weather was cold with strong N winds and snow showers. The snowdrops are still not fully opened. They seem to be dormant till the weather improves.

We walked right down to the cliff edge at the E of the dene and were rewarded with a good view of a large dog fox stalking a rabbit at the base of the cliff.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sunshine at last

At last a sunny day although it is still very cold with ice underfoot. I walked to South Hetton and back on the old railway paths. There were flocks of goldfinches and yellowhammers in the bushes with pairs of bullfinches feeding on the hawthorn berries.
The picture shows (at a distance) a female bullfinch drinking from a puddle.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Floods, snow and late season

I went for a walk along the railway line track from Shotton to Haswell yesterday. There had been so much run off from melting snow that the path was flooded to a depth of almost a foot. On the path I saw a female bullfinch, a beautiful song thrush and flocks of goldfinches and long tailed tits.

Today I walked through Hawthorn Dene. It was bleak and snowy with very little animal life. There were some fungi still surviving. There was evidence of a bird kill in the lower wood possibly by a fox as there was very little left but feathers. Wood pigeon perhaps?
The snowdrops are very late compared to last year. The pictures show the difference. One is last year at this time the other is today. No prizes for guessing which is which!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sunrise 1st February

There was a beautiful sunrise in Haswell on Sun 1st, then it snowed and rained for 2 days!